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Residents asked to give trees a drink
This summer’s warm weather hasn’t meant a strain for city staff on watering New Westminster’s parks, but they could use a helping hand from residents to keep the city’s street trees green.
Claude Ledoux, New Westminster’s horticulturalist, said staff doesn’t have trouble keeping its parks and gardens from being thirsty because of its many irrigation systems that water at an appropriate rate.
“We don’t have to spend a lot of time hand watering, and just use water when we need it. It’s much more efficient,” said Ledoux.
“Lots of plants are very happy this year because it’s so nice and sunny, and they’re getting lots of sun which a lot of times they don’t, so they’re very strong and looking beautiful, our sun-loving plants.”
Ledoux said even the city’s hanging baskets at locations like the Westminster Pier Park, Queen’s Park and the Quay boardwalk are on drip irrigation.
“That water isn’t wasted and it goes directly to the plants.”
Ledoux, however, says the city could use some assistance in watering its street trees so they’re healthy and flourishing.
Although city trucks will come around to water them, it’s not enough, said Ledoux.
“It’s not that we’re demanding [residents] do it, but it’s an investment for our city, it’s what makes our city beautiful,” said Ledoux. “The homes where homeowners have assisted us, it’s amazing the trees.”
Ledoux pointed out watering restrictions do not apply to trees, shrubs, flowers or vegetables. Unlike lawns that require quick, shallow watering, he recommends trees be watered slowly.
Keeping the hose down to a trickle so the water does a slow drain into the soil and go deep into the roots is recommended. The deeper the water goes, the better.
“Very, very slow and make sure the water is not running off and shedding off of the soil and going down the gutter. Go beside the tree and make sure it goes down,” said Ledoux.
“You can do it for hours. Or at least go out and put five gallons a couple of times a week.”
He particularly emphasized the need to water young trees
Young trees, he added, are in particular need of having their extreme thirst quenched.
“Even if the homeowners see us watering the trees, please, it’s only part of it. They’re like children, you know how much nourishment they need. They need all the water and nutrients they can get just like a child. It would really assist our urban forest to keep it green and cool.”
He pointed out watering restrictions are really just for lawns because even if they aren’t watered they will rebound to their former green glory when the inevitable rain returns.
“[Water restrictions are] all about the lawn because so much water is wasted to keep a lawn green,” said Ledoux.